This is a very interesting dichotomy proposed by our friend Professor Dawkins and brings to mind the whole, lesser of two evils argument. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

 

This post is from the discussion section of the Richard Dawkins Foundations for Reason and Science's discussion section. The link to the site is here.

Support Christian missions in Africa? No, but . . .

Given that Islam is such an unmitigated evil, and looking at the map supplied by this Christian site, should we be supporting Christian missions in Africa? My answer is still no, but I thought it was worth raising the question. Given that atheism hasn't any chance in Africa for the foreseeable future, could our enemy's enemy be our friend?

Richard

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I would say it's a bit more complicated than that - there are many tolerant, humanist religious people and organisations who can do a real and palpable good in the world, religious or not. Religious texts are certainly all of the above, but it's amazing the mental gymnastics people will do to make their religion fit into their own personal (and often admirable) moralities. I think that moslems have a particularly undeserved reputation as extremists, especially when there are fanatical christians killing doctors who practice abortion.

I think Dawkins is attempting to make the compromise between idealism and pragmatism, but the incredible oversight towards moderate moslems baffles me.

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"Not all Moslems are "evil." That's bias at play. Shame on Dawkins!"

 

Show me where Dawkins said "all muslims are evil"?

 

Did you even read the article?

 

If you had, you would see that Dawkins is not saying we should support Christianity. In fact he says we shouldn't. He is simply throwing out a thought dilemma of the lesser of two evils, in order to get a debate started, that's all.

"Given that Islam is such an unmitigated evil" - I see your point. There is a great difference between religious doctrine and how people practice it. What interested me was this comment - "Christianity on the otherhand, already has many more tolerant and modern branches" by jon_the_d (on the link) - it makes the mistake that thinking how mostly rural, uneducated, and relatively poor people in Africa believe in the same manner as better educated, more cosmopolitan and tolerant christians in the west. At this level of society I think it's less a question of religious doctrine and more a question of how rural communities believe in anything, from ancestors to allah to yahweh. Regardless of faith the same cruelties and injustices will be invented, and I can't say there really is a lesser evil

You needn't be hostile-nasty.  Did you UNDERSTAND the article or what I said?  For one thing, I didn't use the word "support."  I won't engage with people like you, who get personal when they don't approve of someone's comments.  That's disrespectful.

"Show me where Dawkins said "all muslims are evil"?

Did you even read the article?"

 

Do you think the above is seriously hostile and nasty? Wow.

 

Since when does asking honest questions equate to "hostility"?

Being blunt and honest is my style. I apologise if you took it up as nastiness, that was not the intention.

It should not be forgotten that it is these moderates who often act as the generally unintentional umbrella for extremism. To question the actions of extremists seems easy enough though always remember that the foundations on which they have based their opinions which inevitably lead to violence are based in faith. The "salad bar" faithful will always pick and choose phrases which justify most anything from their respective doctrine be it a societal positive or negative and even those committing the negatives will deem it a positive since they believe they are doing gods work. The moderates remain the buffer since if you question the doctrine of the extremist you do the same for the moderate. How many times has a member of faith after reading a passage from scripture in which you have come to a completely different conclusion to it's meaning or intent replied with "well that's what it means to me"? Any time there is a form of ethnic cleansing (which is usually better described as religious cleansing) what is the reaction from the faith group who is a moderate wing of the group committing the violent act? Immediate defense. Of course they take a few seconds to condemn the actions then go on a several minute rant of defensive posturing. One has to wonder if the moderates are secretly pleased with the results despite their unwillingness to get their hands dirty.
good point JW...I believe religion is fundamentally evil. This because it requires people to stop thinking. Any individual, who was able to think in an unfettered fashion and dared to question the tenets of religion, was labelled by Christianity as being evil or a heretic. The original sin according to Judaic and Christian dogma is man’s capacity to think! Christianity takes the side of everything weak, base, ill-constituted; it depraves reason by teaching us to believe that the supreme values of intellectuality are sinful, as being misleading and as temptations.

 

The very basis of religion is mysticism which creates false realities; makes people feel guilty where guilt is absent but useful to the religionists; where the mysticism-plagued mind waits for external guidance from external authorities. These authorities that include governments and religious movements are fully aware of this. They consequently assume an external and immoral ‘authority’ over us. Indeed they continue to generate and justify the use of force such as the Inquisition, excommunication and religious wars and terror, and through fraudulent means by making false claims such as miracles, divine sightings and –intervention. Or through plain dishonesty they communicate information and interpret incidents such as burning bushes and ‘smoking guns’ to suit particular agendas. Thus those in authority manufacture so-called ‘realities’; create false standards and strengthen your feelings of guilt in order to control and manipulate you. In the political arena, leaders mislead their citizens with misinformation; they create fear through imagined threats to people’s safety and in its extreme form, these master mystics enforce their corrupt goals through force and violence often couched in internationally accepted terms and legislation which they justify as being for ‘the common good’. 

 Unfortunately we were taught as youngsters not to question the Bible or our leaders. This creates a natural barrier to intelligent enquiry which was always countered by the decree that you must have faith and trust in your leaders religious or in the political arena.

That is why Dawkins' is wrong. The capacity to think is our legacy and indeed our responsibility; to deny that is to deny our morality.

Which is our enemy in this case, islam or christianity?  if its christianity should islam be our friend? if it is islam should christianity be our friend? the christian extremists in africa are just as bad as the islamists. how do we decide which is the lesser of the 2 evils, by which we, a different culture, identify more with? Maybe our enemy is religion as a whole.. there enemy would be us. We would be our own friends. Its an interesting question... but i see no outcome in which religion of any kind and peace coincide.
Not all Muslims are radical. Most are moderates. Now where have I heard that before. Oh, yes. That described the Nazis in Germany in 1933.

Eh... Sorry. You have picked a single christian nation and decided to apply it to all muslims? The scale seems a bit out of whack :) I think Germany's behaviour in WWII was also a far more complex issue than religious fervor. That was just justification - the drive was german national pride, and complexes of superiority.

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